The K-9 dashed out of the patrol car at blinding speed toward the suspect when, boom! Sharp teeth sunk into the man.
The suspect was down before he knew what hit him and officers were able to cuff him within seconds.
The crowd cheered.
No, this wasn’t a legitimate felony stop, but a demonstration as part of the 35th annual Cypress Community Festival on Saturday, July 25th, at Oak Knoll Park.
Hailed as Orange County’s largest single-day event, the festival is packed with vendors, sports competitions, dance and musical performances. The Cypress Police Department also made the scene with their mobile command center, SWAT vehicle, police motorcycles, and crime scene investigation equipment all on display for attendees to see.
One of the afternoon’s many highlights was the department’s K-9 demonstration at Oak Knoll Park’s baseball field; hosted by officers Becky Mondon and Michael McBain alongside their furry partners-in-justice, Sem, 7, and Pasko, 4.
“These dogs are trained to protect us and keep you safe,” said McBain. “They save man power and man hours; they are an invaluable asset to the department.”
One of the first demonstrations was a mock pursuit felony stop, an officer dressed in protective gear, played a suspect who was not complying with officers’ commands and moving erratically.
Within seconds, one of the K-9’s sped over to the suspect at blinding speed and was able to distract the suspect enough for police to move in and apprehend him.
“All our verbal commands to these K-9’s are in German, so there’s minimal confusion in the field,” McBain said. “They have a high vocabulary and can understand and respond to many different commands within seconds.”
Another demonstration focused on the importance of obedience training, including what is known as a “long down.” This is when a K-9 is told to stay in a single spot and not move regardless of what is happening around them or if the partner officer moves out of their field of vision.
“We train our K-9’s in obedience training at least twice a day,” Mondon said. “It’s one of the most critical aspects of K-9 policing. If our dogs don’t listen to us, they aren’t effective in the field.
“We also train them to obey commands using only hand signals. This is meant for more tactical situations when officers cannot yell out commands to the K-9 at the risk of becoming discovered.”
After the event, the K-9s took to the shade for some well-deserved rest as dozens of festival attendees were able to get up close and personal to pet and take pictures with Pasko and Sem.
“They’re very friendly, social, loving animals, their loyalty is unmatched.” McBain said. “But when you flip that switch and it’s time to get serious, they never let us down.”
“The Cypress community enjoys a great partnership with its police department and the festival creates an opportunity to strengthen that relationship. Getting the opportunity to meet the K-9 is just an added bonus,” said Mayor Rob Johnson.
The department also had a booth with various crime scene investigations equipment for the public to see and even play with, including: an electronic microscope, capable of magnifying any surface up to two hundred times greater than the human eye can see, and a thermal camera.
“We can use these cameras to see if someone is carrying a weapon,” said Ravi Perera, CSI Specialist and 20-year veteran of the department. “Also if someone decides to ditch a weapon in the bushes, their heat signature will stay on the item for an extended period of time afterward.
“These cameras make them much easier to spot, especially in the dark. It’s also much easier to spot vehicles attempting to hide in parking lots, as this camera can detect when an engine is still hot.
The CPD’s borescope was another interesting item at Perera’s disposal.
“A borescope is basically a small camera on a flexible, rigid tube,” he said. “It’s mainly used for looking around corners that are perceived as dangerous, (but) also for looking into packages that are suspicious.
“There is a light at the end of the camera and it can also take pictures.”
The last item on display was a 619-E Evidence Vacuum Sweeper. “This vacuum is used to gather very fine bits of evidence that a human being would not be able to pick up. This tool can pick up a hair follicle you didn’t even know was there, it’s amazing,” Perera said.
As the afternoon began to roll into the evening and the temperature began to cool, citizens slowly shuffled out of Oak Knoll Park.
“The Community Festival is a great opportunity for the citizens of Cypress to collaborate with the police department and foster relationships, and as a result, keep the community safer,” said Police Chief Rodney Cox. “It’s always great to see residents having conversations and laughing with our officers.”